School system increases security

Staff report

PLAQUEMINE - The Iberville Parish Sheriff's Office will hire three new school resource officers to increase school security.

This comes in the wake of the shooting deaths of 27 students and educators at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Iberville School Superintendent Ed Cancienne said the School Board is allocating to the Sheriff's Office more than $150,000 a year to add the three officers, increasing how much the school district spends annually on school safety to about $250,000.

Officials with the Sheriff's Office, speaking on behalf of Sheriff Brett Stassi, on Jan. 14 asked the School Board to enter into a collaborative agreement to help pay for the new resource officers.

The school district gave Stassi the OK to proceed the next day.

The parish currently has only one school resource officer, who works primarily at Plaquemine High School.

The sheriff's more than $150,000 request from the school district - about $55,000 a year per officer - will help pay for the officers' salaries, benefits and equipment.

The IPSO will cover all the associated training expenses and provide vehicles for the new SROs.

School resource officers must be certified in Peace Officer Standards and Training and be in good standing with the local Sheriff's Office and municipal police departments.

School resource officers must also have two years of police experience as well as a high school diploma or GED, and must complete basic SRO training.

Stassi intends to have the officers in place by the beginning of February.

The four resource officers will be assigned certain regions of the parish where they will patrol schools in their areas at random times throughout the day, according to Stassi.